Callum Smith successfully defended WBA ‘super’ Super-Middleweight World title for a second time with a hard-fought 117-111, 116-112, 116-112 victory in his homecoming fight but was pushed all the way by mandatory challenger John Ryder.
Smith, who was fighting as a World Champion for the first time in Liverpool, put his lacklustre performance down to a lack of fear of Ryder, who was a massive underdog heading into the fight, giving away both height and reach.
“I want the best names in the division and I’m not disrespecting John Ryder but there was no fear tonight,” Smith told Sky Sports afterwards.
“I didn’t believe John Ryder was good enough to beat me. There are fighters that I believe are good enough to beat me that don’t perform and that’s going to bring out the best in me. That’s what I want, I want the big names.
“I just want a big name, where if I turn up like tonight I’ll lose. That fear brings out the best performance in me, I feel I need that.”
“I thought that was harsh,” said Ryder. “I thought I forced the fight, he was just nicking rounds, if that. I thought I done enough to win that.
“I’ve lost for the British title three times, I’ve come back and fought for a world title against the world No 1. I think I’ve done more than enough to show I’m credible for this and I will come again.”
4 x 3 mins Lightweight contest
MARCUS MOLLOY WPTS4 (40-37) v JAMIE QUINN
Liverpool prospect Marcus Molloy kicked off the evening’s action with a comfortable points win over Stockport’s Jamie Quinn to improve his unbeaten record to 2-0.
6 x 3 mins Super-Lightweight contest
STEPHEN SMITH WPTS6 (60-54) v JONNY PHILLIPS
Two-time World title challenger Stephen ‘Swifty’ Smith recorded his third win of 2020 with a shutout points with over Sandhurst’s Jonny Phillips to move his record to 28-4 (15 KOs).
12 x 3 mins Final Eliminator for British Lightweight Title
JAMES TENNYSON WTKO11 (2.00) v CRAIG EVANS
James Tennyson stopped Craig Evans in 11 rounds to secure himself a shot at the British Lightweight title.
The Belfast boxer backed up Evans with a series of unanswered punishing hooks to force the referee’s intervention and claim victory in the final eliminator with his 22nd KO.
4 x 3 mins Super-Lightweight contest
TOM AITCHISON WPTS4 (40-36) v MATIJA PETRINIC
Skelmersdale’s Super-Lightweight talent Tom Aitchison made it two wins from two fights as a professional with a classy points win over Croatia’s Matija Petrinic.
10 x 3 mins Eliminator for British Super-Lightweight Title
TOM FARRELLv SEAN DODD WTD4 (38-38, 38-39, 37-39)
Sean Dodd claimed a technical-decision victory over Tom Farrell after a premature ending to their British Super-Lightweight title eliminator in the first televised bout of the evening.
Dodd was declared the winner via scores of 38-38, 38-39, 37-39 after fellow Merseysider Farrell suffered a bad cut above his eye during an accidental clash of heads in the fourth round.
6 x 3 mins Light-Heavyweight contest
THOMAS WHITTAKER-HART WTKO5 (1.26) v JOSIP PERKOVIC
Tony Bellew-managed Light-Heavyweight prospect Thomas Whittaker-Hart improved his perfect record to 4-0 (2 KOs) with a fifth round TKO win over Croatia’s Josip Perkovic to round off a successful first year as a professional.
10 x 3 mins vacant WBA International Super-Welterweight Title
ANTHONY FOWLER WUD10 (98-91 x 3) v HARRY SCARFF
Liverpool’s Anthony Fowler stayed on course for a 2020 rematch with bitter rival Scott Fitzgerald after securing a comfortable unanimous decision over Harry Scarff to win the vacant WBA International Super-Welterweight title.
Fowler dropped Scarff to the canvas in the ninth round before claiming victory via scores of 98-91 three times on the judge’s scorecards to make it two wins from two since suffering the first loss of his pro career to Fitzgerald back in March.
“His nickname is ‘Horrible’, he didn’t want to fight. That was a horrible, frustrating fight,” Fowler told Sky Sports afterwards. “As long as I win, that’s my main priority.”
12 x 3 mins vacant Commonwealth Cruiserweight Title
CRAIG GLOVER v CHRIS BILLAM-SMITH WTKO5 (1.46)
Bournemouth’s Chris Billam-Smith stopped hometown fighter Craig Glover in five rounds to claim the vacant Commonwealth Cruiserweight title. ‘The Gentleman’ dropped Glover three times before the fight was waved off to put himself in line for a rematch with Richard Riakporhe after losing his undefeated record to the Londoner in July.
Billam-Smith caught Glover with a heavy right and followed up with two crunching hooks to send the Liverpudlian crashing to the canvas at the end of the fourth round. He then dropped Glover for a second time after unleashing a barrage of blows and after the Liverpudlian was floored again the referee called a halt.
“Craig is a very good fighter. I was scared going into that fight,” said Billam-Smith afterwards. “I’d love that fight next [Richard Riakporhe vs Jack Massey].”